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October 31, 2010

Meyer: This win is No. 1

JACKSONVILLE -- Urban Meyer is among college football's most successful coaches.

He has two national titles, two Southeastern Conference titles and more than 100 wins.

But following Saturday's 34-31 overtime win over Georgia, he said that victory by a 4-3 Florida team over 4-4 Georgia was at the top of his list of greatest victories.

"This is the biggest win we've had," Meyer said. "We've had some great wins around here and maybe some people would say more important. I'd probably argue that one. This is the biggest one that I can remember, and I've coached a long time."

What made this win so important?

"Because we got our brains kicked in the last three weeks and we've got to get the ship righted," Meyer said. "We needed that. My family needed that. Everybody needed that. A bunch of families in there needed it. That was a good win. Awful grateful."

Saturday's victory ended the longest losing streak of Meyer's career as a head coach.

***

During Florida's on-field postgame celebration, Meyer was singing the school alma mater with his players when someone approached him and gave the coach a bear hug. It was Gators offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, who has been much maligned this season because of his unit's mediocre play.

During their embrace, it looked as if both men had watery eyes.

"You just end an emotional game and I love Urban," Addazio said. "It was just a great feeling, that feeling of success right there. You know, that's what it's all about. When you're in the arena man, you have those ups and downs. But you're in the arena and you're battling, you're scratching, you're clawing all together."

The Gator offense, which had been dreadful in previous outings, was averaging only 329 yards per game. But against Georgia, Florida finished with 450. Before the game, the Gators were ranked 89th nationally. Now, they're up to 80th.

***

In recent weeks, Florida's offense had struggled to produce big plays (those of 20 or more yards). On Saturday, the Gators cranked them out against a Georgia defense that ranked fourth in the Southeastern Conference in yards allowed.

"We had five big plays, which is something that has been non-existent," Meyer said.

Of Florida's big plays, three came via the pass and two were rushes.

That Florida had running back/receiver Chris Rainey, playing his first game after serving a five-game suspension, and tailback Jeff Demps, who has been injured, at the same time certainly helped.

"They're just playmakers," Florida quarterback John Brantley said.

QUICK HITTERS

--Gator receiver Andre Debose didn't play Saturday because of a sprained ankle. After the game, Debose said he could have gone if he had to, and added he expects to be 100 percent by the time Florida plays Vanderbilt next week.

--Brantley, who lined up at receiver several times against the Bulldogs, still hasn't had a pass thrown his way. In past games, he said defenders didn't cover him much. But Georgia "stayed on me pretty good."

--Georgia still leads the series 46-40-2, but Florida has won 18 of the past 21.

--Meyer is 32-3 (.914) when he has more than a week to prepare for a game. Off a bye week, he's now 14-1 (8-0 at Florida).

--That was the Gators' first overtime game since Nov. 5, 2005. That night, Florida beat Vanderbilt 49-42 in 2OT. Florida is 3-2 all time in overtime games. Florida and Georgia had never gone to OT.

--With three interceptions against Georgia, the Gators have a pick in 30 of their last 36 games. Seven Florida players have interceptions this season.

--Florida was three for four in the red zone.

--Chas Henry's 61-yard punt in the third quarter was his fourth punt of 60-plus yards this season.

--Florida's 91-yard scoring drive in the second quarter was its longest this season.

--Trey Burton's 51-yard touchdown run with 6:56 left was a career-long. It was his 10th rushing touchdown this season, the second most ever by a Gator freshman.

QUOTABLE

--"That was the most gratifying feeling. I kept saying all week this is my redemption week, my redemption week. It felt great. It's an unbelievable feeling." -- Henry

-- "It was a very good game. I'm sure the fans [watching] on TV enjoyed it. The television people probably loved it. It was that kind of game. But it certainly didn't end the way we wanted it to." -- Georgia coach Mark Richt



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